Detective sent to spy on Bakery worker who slipped on broken egg

Supermarket bosses sent a private detective to spy on one of their workers after she slipped on a broken egg in one of its stores.

Grandmother Irene Heslop fractured her spine after falling on to the concrete floor of a warehouse at Asda in Hulme where she had worked as a bakery assistant for seven years.

More than a year after the incident, the retail giant twice sent a spy to prove Irene, 65, was fit to work by filming her as she went about her daily chores.

The grandmother-of-two, from Fallowfield, Manchester, didn’t realise she had been followed until the footage was revealed during a compensation battle which saw her awarded £21,000 for her injuries and loss of earnings.

She said: “I felt sick when I saw the footage, it just left me numb. It just seems so over the top for them to follow me around and invade my privacy like that.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s left me feeling quite unsafe to know someone was following me around with a video camera and I didn’t know about it until three years later.

“After seven years of service, it hurt anyway that they thought I was lying, but to be so underhand as to film me going around the shops and catching the bus, then store it away on file without telling me it existed just breaks my heart.”

Irene, of Seacombe Avenue, has been unable to work since the accident in March 2007.

Irene’s medical claims were backed up by doctors at Manchester Royal Infirmary who submitted evidence to her solicitors that her activities and lifestyle had been ‘considerably curtailed’ by the accident.

She still receives regular injections and acupuncture following the injury and struggles to walk long distances.

The mum-of-three has since retired after the conclusion of the case saw her employment with the supermarket come to an end.

She continues to shop at Asda in Eastlands, but was ordered to hand back her staff discount card after the case was settled.

Natasha Ross, of Manchester-based solicitors Pannone, who handled the case for Mrs Heslop, said the supermarket had put her client through nearly five years of unnecessary legal torment.

She said: “Irene was the innocent victim of an accident at work. I find it disappointing that her employers did not settle this case immediately.”

A spokeswoman for Asda said: “The health and safety of our customers and colleagues is our biggest priority and if we fall short of our high standards, we will work to put things right.

“We always investigate claims thoroughly to make sure we fully understand the facts and can reach the right conclusion for everyone involved.

“We’re sorry for any upset caused to Irene through resolving this case, and wish her all the best for the future.”

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